Cynan Jones (Author)

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
Publish Date
November 17, 2020
5.4 X 8.2 X 0.7 inches | 0.45 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

CYNAN JONES was born in 1975 near Aberaeron, Wales where he now lives and works. He is the author of five short novels, The Long Dry, Everything I Found on the Beach, Bird, Blood, Snow, The Dig, and Cove. He has won a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award, a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize, and the BBC National Short Story Award. His short fiction has been widely published in anthologies and publications including Granta and The New Yorker.


Praise for the UK edition of Stillicide

Science Focus, 1 of the 10 Best Science Books of the Year

"Fragmented, marvellously compressed . . . The radical distillation of language, the sense that every word has been individually chosen, results in a blunt perfection that heightens this effect. Narrative exists, but it is secondary to form. On first encounter at least, the pleasures Stillicide offers appear to be more aesthetic than dramatic . . . With recent novels from Megan Hunter, Jenni Fagan, Richard Powers, Ben Smith, John Lanchester and Ghosh himself working hard to imagine the effects of climate crisis at both the global and the personal level, Stillicide can be added to the growing roster of powerful and urgent meditations on the future. As a tract of written language, it is close to perfect. As a repository for ideas, it is imaginative and far reaching. As a story of and for our times, it is very human, and deadly serious." --Nina Allen, The Guardian

"As we are drip-fed more details, the stories pool together into a pellucid portrait of a broken world . . . Less a linear narrative than a layering of images, Stillicide is an exercise in matching literary form to a visual idea: as Cynan Jones's sparse, clear words accumulate down the page, we are left feeling the chill of a slowly melting iceberg." --Clare Saxby, The Times Literary Supplement

"How big this small book is, giving the barest details of its future world . . . Exciting, upsetting and essential." --Financial Times

"A piece of superb hardboiled noir . . . Stillicide has an enigmatic, surging power . . . This is a novella that seeks to alienate us from our grip on language and from our everyday taken-for-granted understanding of reality . . . powerful and disturbing." --New Welsh Review

"A tense and moving love story . . . high-stake miniatures that expertly convey the impression of time moving but also staying still . . . unforgettable." --Daily Mail

"A more powerful parable is hard to imagine . . . Wonderfully pared back and impressionistic." --Scotsman

"Jones lets the contours of his chilly prophecy emerge in glimpses, leaving plenty of white space for the reader's imagination." --Metro

"Twelve sparely written but moving tales of near-future water shortages and overpopulation." --New Scientist

"It is about revelling in the evocative language." --BBC Radio

Praise for Cove

A Boston Globe Pick of the Week

"Jones echoes other survival narratives by keeping his narrator's voice internal, but he creates a feeling of desperate solitude with wonderfully sparse language. Lovers of poetry and experimental prose will marvel at this impressionistic lament." --Booklist

"A harrowing tale of resilience. . . . Though brief, the book is immersive in its rich, poetic descriptions of nature . . . and cleverly shifts between second and third person. . . . This is a gripping story with a unique style that reflects the remarkable limits of the human spirit." --Publishers Weekly

"With his fifth short novel, Cynan Jones further establishes himself as a master of the power of less. . . . Jones writes with an attention to detail that dazzles." --Shelf Awareness (starred review)

"[A] beautiful novelette, a tight work that captures the intensity of one man's struggle with himself." ―Read It Forward, A Favorite Read of April 2018

"Cove is sparse and somewhat breezy, and rightly so, as it's a book about a man who has no memory of who he is, and is close to dying in the cove. The language, like the protagonist's energy, is limited and effective. Content and form tightly bound. It's another side of Jones and it certainly excites me to see what will come next." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"To read Cove is to take a masterclass in taking out everything but the essentials. This is writing stripped back to the bone, and storytelling that gets under the skin. Powerful, terrifying, brilliantly done." --Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13

"I found Cove hypnotically compelling, as exciting as it is meditative, and adored the pared down yet powerful, rippling, sensate writing. A terrific read." --Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

"A book distilled and elemental even by Jones's standards. It's searing, unflinching, exquisitely written--for me, his best work yet." --Tom Bullough, author of Addlands

Praise for the UK edition of Cove

"Jones's latest book, Cove (2016, Granta), is a cinematic epic in under one hundred pages. ... Jones takes the Jack London-style story of man vs. nature and twists it so that we see man vs. his own nature when the natural world has gotten inside his head. It is the kind of book that you can read in an afternoon and wouldn't consider putting down even if it were longer." --Los Angeles Review

"This is writing that forces you to pay close attention... A powerful story about one man pitted against the elements, with echoes of Hemingway ... but original in its underlying poignancy; the storytelling is stripped to its bare essentials." --The (London) Times

"Jones strips the story down to its elemental core and much of it reads like a prose poem. His vivid descriptions allow us to feel the man's physical discomfort and flagging spirit . . . Cove is about the dangerous, unknowable rhythms of the sea . . . about devastation [...] love, loss, memory and the will to live . . . A haunting meditation on trauma and human fragility." --Financial Times

"Arresting . . . Jones is a highly accomplished writer in whose hands such elemental raw materials turn strange and fugitive . . . Though his novels often turn on sudden shocks, the real power of his prose lies in its slow accumulation of energy around dimly apprehended points of tension . . . Part of what's impressive about the book is that it holds its own. One might expect some level of its allusiveness, an acknowledgement of literature's other lost sailors. But Jones's writing has a cool independence, aloof from others' words." --The Guardian

"Charting a course somewhere between Life of Pi and Paul Kingsnorth's Beast, Cove is a minimal, occasionally mysterious, man-versus-the-elements fable . . . there's plenty under the surface of the terse, telegraphic prose. Cove repays attentive parsing."--Observer

"The writing [is] spare and economical . . . lyrical . . . short and intense." --Sunday Telegraph

"A narrative as stripped of detail as its protagonist is of his memories, which nonetheless proves curiously powerful." --Sunday (London) Times

"Jones's brutally, beautifully distilled, almost incantatory language is entirely his own . . . An extraordinary novel that tugs on the ideas of home and homecoming. [It] speaks louder than many a novel three times its length." --Daily Mail

"Jones's writing, although stripped back, is delicate and poetic . . . If Hemingway's prose resonates with universal truth, Jones's shimmers with suggestiveness and ambiguity." --Scotland on Sunday

"This undersung Welsh writer specialises in sinewy, sliver-thin novels that trash cosy notions about benevolent Mother Nature . . . Pungent with jeopardy, the atmosphere is stark and elemental, with a faint hint of allegory in the plight of the unnamed protagonist." --Metro

"Painful, moving, energising and intensely thrilling . . . Immensities happen in this slim book . . . wildly rewarding and utterly exhilarating." --Spectator

"Less than 100 pages long but carries more weight than most novels I read this year. It's both exciting and intense, written with a care for each word." --Irish Times

"Cynan Jones is utterly brilliant. The writing is so delicate and cruel and insightful. I don't understand why no statues have been erected in his honour yet." --Eimear McBride, Times Literary Supplement

"Cove is the latest and most accomplished of Jones's works. It once again proves Jones's formidable talent. The book is confusing and demanding and damning and everything and anything and nothing. Above all else, however, Cove is beautiful."--Huffington Post

"Jones plugs directly into the reader's nightmares with his fifth novel, an ultra-minimalist tale of an injured man adrift at sea in a wrecked fishing boat. There is not a word wasted in these short, sharp, epigraphic paragraphs that rival even Hemingway in their terseness . . . It's as taut as trapped fishing line, and possibly most effective when read in one sitting -- though it may not be healthy to let your heart stop beating for that long." --UK Press Association

"In a time when novels are getting more robust, replete with increasingly ostentatious, over-embellished writing, Cove comes as a breath of fresh air . . . In this slim novel Jones sketch[es] a formidable portrait of the fury of nature. In his visceral descriptions of the mighty sea, birds and fish, his stark primal style is reminiscent of that of Ted Hughes' poetry. There is a cinematic thrill to his writing, which induces a sense of pulsating alarm in the reader . . . Cove is an extraordinary novel [and] a thrilling, immersive experience." --Wales Art Review

Praise for The Dig

Courier Mail (Australia), "Books th at linger"
Winner of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize
Winner of the Wales Book of the Year in Fiction

"[I]ntense and remarkably condensed . . . This is a novel with a heft far beyond its size. . . . [The Dig is] a kind of diptych about violence, loss, and the different ways one can be trapped. It is absolutely unflinching." --New York Times Book Review

"There are moments in Cynan Jones' flawless short novel that literally left me breathless."--Star Tribune, "Holiday books: Critics' Choices"

"Jones weaves together the stories of two rural Welshmen laboring during lambing season to evoke grief, hope, ambition, and revulsion in a way that feels both eerily familiar and utterly new." --Los Angeles Public Library

"Cynan Jones' The Dig marries a sense of place (in this case, the Welsh countryside) to its story as well as any book published this year." --Largehearted Boy, "Favorite Novels of 2015β€³

"While the action of the story is compelling, the real pleasures lie in Jones's language and meditations on grief. In prose that calls to mind both the severity of Cormac McCarthy and the psychological lucidity of John Updike, Jones explores the intricacies of Daniel's mourning . . . a refreshing counterpoint to back-to-the-land idealism." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[A] piercing novella . . . Like Cormac McCarthy, Jones can make the everyday sound fraught and biblical." --Kirkus, starred review

"Both Jones's novel and most of Faulkner's fiction challenge the always-fashionable idea that complex, interesting stories are about cosmopolitans wrestling with the tyranny of choice. . . The complexity in The Dig, as in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, comes from Jones allowing us to inhabit this struggle directly." --The Los Angeles Review

"Those sounding the knell for traditional stories may have a hard time explaining books like Cynan Jones's The Dig, a swift, elegant novella . . . Jones's language dazzles, he uses his stunning prose to tell a realistic story about the realities of loss and grief." --Huffington Post

"Jones is remarkably subtle and sketches the duality of his creations in the cleanest of strokes. And while his bloodier scenes are indeed gut-wrenching, they are stunningly composed: raw, visceral, adrenaline-infused writing that prompts us to flinch and quail but nonetheless keep turning the pages . . . haunting and beautiful and deserves to be read at one sitting -- not devoured, but savored." --Star Tribune

"I treasure books such as A Kestrel for a Knave, Cynan Jones's The Dig. . . for engaging with this marginal pastoral tradition, showing the depths of its attachments to nature, and for refusing to treat those attachments in a romantic nativist way." --The Guardian (UK)

"The textures bend back and forth on one another, trading their friction, waiting, incubating. Even without any clear release, it is in this sense of meditation between opposite forces in the same land that we are carried, turned and turned as if in winds that have blown somewhere not far off in our world, one where the textured silences might hide as much menace as the loudest wailing." --Vice

"There's nothing bucolic about this elemental, extraordinary tale of good and evil. It's a bitter pill made easy to swallow thanks to art and its paean to life. The Dig is about cruelty, isolation and loss in a dark age." --Shelf Awareness

"The Dig is one of the most taut, haunting reading experience you're likely to have this year." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"The Dig is a warren of inquiry into vulnerability and violence, isolation and loss, and the limits of the human spirit." --Guernica

"Jones's perfectly pitched novel will appeal to anyone looking beyond sheer thrills." --Library Journal

"A poignantly stripped down exploration of life, love, and human cruelty that reminds us that we are all joined in a unified humanity." --Lisa Lucas, The Scofield

"A quietly overwhelming masterpiece of love, degeneration and the merciless landscape of grief" --Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

"Jones' sentences bristle with foreboding . . . Jones seems to be playing with the idea of the nature of man, of those who live closer in tune with the laws of nature than with those of humanity. Jones, like great poet-novelists, fills his book with beautiful sentences." --Electric Literature

"Jones doesn't shy away from the stark realities of grief, cruelty, or isolation; his prose doesn't tend to the pastoral, but has its own beauty even when the story takes a brutal turn." --BookRiot

"Jones's sense of place is acute, and his passion for the landscape--for its colours, its creatures, its textures, its scents--is absolutely magnetic." --Sarah Waters

"There's something of John Steinbeck, Cormac McCarthy and the Old Testament to this short, sharp, brutal and bewitching tale . . . Beauty and barbarity, tenderness and heartlessness are mixed in prose that reads like stark poetry. There's almost too much truth in this unforgettable novel. But great beauty too." --Monocle

"This is a bantamweight of a book, light on its feet but packing a wallop." --The Rumpus

"By turns chilling and haunting, The Dig is a visceral indictment of the continuities between the use and abuse of animals, and a meditation on the casual violence of ordinary men." --Patrick Flanery, author of Absolution

"A brilliant novel--tense, tough and haunting." --Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine

"Take equal pinches of Hemingway and McCarthy, mix them with a huge spadeful of wild Welsh and wondrous originality, and you get The Dig. It's brave and necessary and relevant in that it steers us into a contemplation of the world's beauties by forcing us to consider their extinction. It is angry and heartbreaking and profoundly moving. Truly, it stirs the soul" --Niall Griffiths

"Written with a beautifully blunt simplicity, The Dig is moving, evocative, and utterly compelling. Cynan Jones has dirt under his fingernails, and a keen sense of the rightly-placed word." --Jon McGregor

Praise for The Long Dry

"Jones' books are fistfuls of raw earth... [The Long Dry] has a poetic, elemental feel that's enlivening even when the mood is at its lowest ebb." --Star Tribune

"Even when nothing is happening in Jones's fiction, a lot is happening, and the natural settings are bountifully alive." --Publishers Weekly

"The light in this dark tale . . . comes via its language. Jones writes about this mucky, perilous landscape with a simplicity and passion that evoke Seamus Heaney's poetry." --Kirkus Reviews

"[The Long Dry] seethes with the brutal squelch of farming, breeding, bleeding, death, and soars with moments of shuddering human frailty and grace." --Boston Globe

"The Long Dry... proves that Jones has long been consistent (and consistently good) in his stylistic and thematic wheelhouse. This novel... leaves little question as to why Jones has been called 'one of the most distinctive new voices in British fiction.'" --Rain Taxi

"Jones's lines propel us, enthrall us, and break our hearts." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Not since I first encountered Faulkner has a writer so impressed me with his rural wisdom. Set in the Welsh countryside, The Long Dry is at once profound and plainspoken, feral and fierce, tender and true. This book is a revelation, and Cynan Jones is a prophet of the wonderfully strange." --Peter Geye

Praise for Everything I Found on the Beach

"Jones' somber tone and damp, overcast setting help make the novel a kind of critique of the new economy that put both men in such desperate straits. . . . A striking and careful portrait of ambition crashing against reality." --Kirkus, starred review

"With this thriller-like plot in place, Jones is free to exercise his considerable gifts as a stylist, and breathtaking descriptions of landscape and animal life abound." --Publishers Weekly

"As a novel full of skewed moral judgments and reckless acts, it has plenty of emotional clout and immense narrative pull. . . . There are brief spurts of bloody, visceral prose--fish gutted, rabbits skinned, cattle stunned--along with moments of striking lyricism." --Star Tribune

"The novel as a whole illuminates the inner, fragile struggles of men and the dangerous visible struggles that result when certain paths are chosen." --NewPages

"Jones offers gorgeous observation of nature's indifference to human intervention, and juxtaposes it with characters who define themselves by their inability to influence the manmade systems by which they are held in check. There is no hope--until there is." --Heavy Feather

"Jones strips his prose to the heartbeat minimum. Its plaintive nudity is like the sea itself, so present in this novel, 'like some broken metronome for the earth.'" --Cleaver Magazine

"Everything I Found on the Beach, a compact but powerful novel by Cynan Jones, might just be one of the rawest and honest interpretations of what the sea is to us." --Summerset Review

"For those of us who write, tell and read stories to make sense of the world, I feel this short novel is a work of great insight. It does that all-too-rare thing which is to spool on in your mind after you've read it." --Electric Literature

"Raw, abrasive, and compact, Jones' short novels carry a muscular, confident tone." --Hazel & Wren

"A heartbreakingly relatable narrative." --Cultured Vultures

"Cynan Jones's Everything I Found on the Beach is a remarkable novel, quiet but powerful. . . . Thought-provoking and somehow uplifting, in its beautiful, artistic consideration of life itself." --Shelf Awareness

"Filled with poverty, heartbreak, and danger, Jones' novel poses some very simple but timeless questions." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"My old grandmother had a pressure cooker built of fine and heavy metal that would hop and bang on the stove as it worked but only slowly, reluctantly, it seemed, offer itself the relief of a strong, composed scream. In the work of Cynan Jones--never more so than in Everything I Found on the Beach--we find a similar mechanism at play, except that it is the pages, full of sturdily encased fury, that hop and bang, and it is us at the book's end who turn to wall or pillow or wide, empty world and scream. This is powerful writing. Let there be no doubt about it." --Laird Hunt